One of the most extraordinary, imaginative and ambitious novels of the century: a history of the evolution of humankind over the next 2 billion years. Among all science fiction writers Olaf Stapledon stands alone for the sheer scope and ambition of his work. First published in , Last and First Men is full of pioneering speculations about evolution, terraforming, genetic engineering and many other subjects. But as he investigates, the evidence points to conspiracies far stranger and more deadly than anything he could have imagined.
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Borl must travel from the decaying Beszel to the only metropolis on Earth as strange as his own. This last volume in the definitive collection of the best science fiction novellas published between and contains 11 great classics. Published in to honor stories that had appeared before the institution of the Nebula Awards, The Science Fiction Hall of Fame introduced thousands of young listeners to the wonders of science fiction and was a favorite of libraries across the country.
In this genre-bending novel, among the first to have launched sci fi into literature, a group of remarkable social outcasts band together for survival and discover that their combined powers render them superhuman. Together, they may represent the next step in evolution - or the final chapter in the history of the human race. As they struggle to find whether they are meant to help humanity or destroy it, Sturgeon explores questions of power and morality, individuality and belonging.
The Einstein Intersection won the Nebula Award for best science fiction novel of The surface story tells of the problems a member of an alien race, Lo Lobey, has assimilating the mythology of Earth, where his kind have settled among the leftover artifacts of humanity. The deeper tale concerns, however, the way those who are "different" must deal with the dominant cultural ideology.
The tale follows Lobey's mythic quest for his lost love, Friza. In luminous and hallucinated language, it explores what new myths might emerge from the detritus of the human world In a world policed by telepaths, Ben Reich plans to commit a crime that hasn't been heard of in 70 years: murder. That's the only option left for Reich, whose company is losing a year death struggle with rival D'Courtney Enterprises. Terrorized in his dreams by The Man with No Face and driven to the edge after D'Courtney refuses a merger offer, Reich murders his rival and bribes a high-ranking telepath to help him cover his tracks.
But while police prefect Lincoln Powell knows Reich is guilty, his telepath's knowledge is a far cry from admissible evidence. There is no denying that Bester has written a top notch SF mystery. I read it many years ago in book form. While the audio is excellent, there were visuals that needed to be seen to understand some of the story. The conversational patterns just got lost without that visual. The overall thrust of the story remained intact; I just missed those little things. The Demolished Man by Alfred Bester is a far future tale of a perfectly planned murder in the context of a society where a portion of humanity possesses mind reading powers.
A rich business tycoon plans the perfect murder of a rival, but things go awry when a witness shows up. The tycoon battles a determined police investigator with the highest esp levels. At the same time, the tycoon is battling a personal demon that haunts his dreams that is partly to blame for his paranoid behaviors. The main sci-fi element is the development of latent "esper" power of the human mind that only some individuals possess to varying degree "peeping" the conscious, the unconscious, or the subconscious.
This effectively precludes someone from lying or hiding information. Major portions of the solar system have been settled, although life in many respects is pretty typical of mid 20th century the tale is set at the dawn of the 24th century. The use of logic computer for assessing adequacy of a criminal case for prosecution was an intriguing application for its time. Finally, mental illness and criminal punishment is treated by "demolition" whereby the subject's mental construct is broken down and permitted to re-establish itself through an accelerated childhood that recapitulates normal growth.
The narration is well done with excellent character distinction of both genders. Pacing and tone are well aligned to the story, especially given the multiple scenes of nightmares and other related mental instabilities. I didn't like it as much as The Stars My Destination however the story is still very entertaining and way ahead of it's time.
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Influencing a socialite into playing a game of Sardines at a party, Reich executes his plan during the game, but at the moment he shoots D'Courtney, D'Courtney's young daughter, Barbara, witnesses the murder and runs away. She is later found, suffering severe psychological shock that renders her speechless. Powell discovers Reich through some cleverly disguised peeping. However, Reich's Esper attorney is present at that encounter, noting that telepathically-gathered evidence is legally inadmissible in court. This obliges Powell to assemble the murder case with traditional police procedures and to establish motive, opportunity and method.
Both sides center on finding and questioning or, in Reich's case, silencing Barbara D'Courtney. Although Reich finds her first, he is unable to kill her; Powell rescues her but loses Reich.
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Powell's pursuit traverses the Solar System , as Reich escapes the police and a series of mysterious assassination attempts with a harmonic gun which kills by sonic vibration. Reich fails to murder his chief of communications, and Powell succeeds in abducting him. Powell has already established opportunity, and eventually method through discovery of a tiny fragment of gelatin in the body.
However, just as Powell believes that he has wrapped the case up entirely, the interrogation of Reich's communications chief yields results—D'Courtney had accepted the merger proposal.
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That dashes Powell's case; as he remarks, no court in the Solar System would believe Reich murdered D'Courtney when D'Courtney was needed alive for the merger which would save Reich and give him all the power and wealth he dreamed of to succeed. Reich's tortured mental state is unknown to him, and so Powell does not suspect that the motive for the murder was something other than financial.
Powell recognizes that the forces behind Reich's crime are greater than anticipated. He asks the help of every Esper in attempting to arrest Reich, channeling their collective mental energy through Powell in the dangerous telepathic procedure "Mass Cathexis Measure"; Powell narrowly succeeds.
Characters: Ben Reich from The Demolished Man
Reich is revealed to be the illegitimate son of Craye D'Courtney—Reich's hatred of him was probably because of his latent, telepathic knowledge of that fact. Reich's knowledge isn't explicitly stated, but Barbara, Reich's half-sister, is herself revealed to be a peeper.
The assassination attempts on Reich were carried out by Reich himself, as a result of his disturbed state. Once arrested and convicted, Reich is sentenced to the dreaded Demolition—the stripping away of his memories and the upper layers of his personality, emptying his mind for re-education.
This 24th-century society uses psychological demolition because it recognizes the social value of strong personalities able to successfully defy the law, seeking the salvaging of positive traits in ridding the person of the evil consciousness of the criminal. Jo Walton has said that Demolished is shaped by Freudian psychology, comparing it to The Last Battle 's relation to Christianity , and emphasizing that the resolution of the plot only makes sense in a Freudian context: Reich's hatred of D'Courtney is motivated by oedipal feelings. Sign In Don't have an account?
Start a Wiki. Characters and story Edit The Demolished Man is an American science fiction police procedural novel set in a future where telepathy is common, although much of its effectiveness is derived from one individual having greater telepathic skill than another. Characters Edit Major characters include: Reich lacks moral integrity and is willing to take considerable risks in order to see his wishes carried out.
However, he is a very charming man to many around him, especially at the story's beginning when his desperation is still checked. His personal mantra is: "Make your enemies by choice, not by accident". Powell is said to have a dual personality; behind the correct role of model Esper and perfect cop hides Dishonest Abe, a parody of Abraham Lincoln. Usually, Dishonest Abe takes the lead in conversation; with Powell finding himself lying in earnest to anybody, for the sake of just amusing himself. Minor characters include: Keno Quizzard, the blind albino a motif also in The Stars My Destination , leader of an underworld organization employing "gimpsters" gangsters , hired by Reich to help find Barbara D'Courtney.
Chooka Frood is a corrupt brothel keeper. She keeps a bodyguard a possible friend-companion-lover named Magda who has red eyes, laughs continually, dresses in leather and studs, and is apt to attack at the slightest provocation.